As my father-in-law, Walt Schulenberg’s birthday approached this year, I have found myself thinking a lot about the man who was like a second dad to me for 38 years. As with my parents, I still find it hard to believe that he is gone, and yet it has been more than four years already. There are many things I really miss about my father-in-law. One of the main ones would be his smile. Whenever we were at his house, he was always so genuinely happy to see us, and his smile made that so clear. He had a great sense of humor and loved to laugh. He was an experienced teaser, and since I come from a family of teasers, we always got along well. In his last years, I had the privilege of taking care of him, and I can honestly say that it was a privilege, and a blessing to be able to spend that time with him. We talked about family history a lot, and he helped me to fill in a lot of the holes in that side of the family. And we just talked about life and the past. Those were sweet times.
My father-in-law was always there to pitch in and lend a helping hand. He worked hard until the job was done. I always called him a workaholic, and I wasn’t kidding, nor was I wrong. He instilled that same work ethic in his children, all of whom are hard workers too. His philosophy was that you should work hard until the job was done, and done right. He believed that if a job was worth doing, it was worth doing right. He took that work ethic with him to the various job he did over the years, and each one was very sorry to see him move on.
He worked hard, but the really important thing in his life was his family. They were his top priority. He loved every baby, grandbaby, and great grandbaby with all his heart. He made toys for them, played games with them, and let them “help” with the jobs he was working on at home, teaching them the ropes as they went along. Every one of the kids and grandkids had a chance to help Grandpa with his work, and they all loved to be able to do so. He never made them feel like they were in the way. Of course, they most enjoyed playing with him, but what child wouldn’t? He was a dear dad and grandfather to every one of the children and grandchildren, a well as to his sons and daughters-in-law. I feel very privileged to have known him. Today would have been my father-in-law’s 88th birthday. I wish he were here so we could all celebrate it with him. Happy birthday in Heaven Dad. We love and miss you very much.